Pavano Picks Minnesota

It was an uneventful start to the 2009 Winter Meetings, but the Minnesota Twins did make the news when day one was all said and done. A week after offering starting pitcher Carl Pavano arbitration, he officially became a part of next season’s roster when he accepted the offer late Monday night.

Pavano came over from the Cleveland Indians last season and played a major role in a September run that put the Twins in the playoffs for the fifth time in eight seasons. As a member of the Twins, Pavano made 12 starts posting a 5-4 record and a 4.64 ERA.
The righty is expected to agree to terms on a contract and avoid an arbitration hearing. Reports believe Pavano will make around $7 million next season.
With Pavano locked up, the Twins now have four of five starting rotation spots filled. Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, and Kevin Slowey will join Pavano in the rotation, and the fifth spot will likely be decided with a spring competition. 
Reaction
Dave Cameron/FanGraphs likes the move:

“So, in all likelihood, the Twins will end up paying Pavano something between $6 and $8 million next year. Even with a market that looks to be paying a depressed rate for wins, that’s still valuing him as a two win pitcher. Even with the health concerns, he’s got a good chance of besting that.”

“…Having Pavano back at a reasonable salary, along with the acquisition of J.J. Hardy, will strengthen the Twins significantly next year. Without expending much money, they’ve made a couple of moves with legitimate upside and minimal risk. It’s been a good off-season for Twins fans so far.”

Joe Christensen/Star Tribune looks at the updated 2010 payroll:

When Carl Pavano accepted the Twins’ salary arbitration offer Monday, it pushed the team’s 2010 projected Opening Day payroll close to $90 million, based on salary estimates for those players currently in the fold.

Estimate to date – $89.8 million

La Velle/Star Tribune has quotes from Pavano’s agent:

Twins players and pitching coach Rick Anderson remained in contact with pitcher Carl Pavano in recent days, reminding him constantly how much they wanted him to be a part of the 2010 team. 

“He feels tremendously comfortable in Minnesota,” Pavano’s agent, Tom O’Connell said. “He has tremendous respect for his teammates and thinks they are united in trying to win. 

“We had to explore free agency, no doubt. But, at the end of the day this was a very easy decision because has made a lot of money in his career and its important to win a championship and the Twins give him the best opportunity to win.”

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